I'm a very big fan of the surreal genre in animation. So when I first heard how mixed the reception for this film was, worldwide, after watching its mesmerizing trailer, I first came to the conclusion that film critics were unfairly judging it, all because it wasn't anything like you would see from Studio Ghibli. I've seen too many surreal animated films unfairly judged this way, all because they just wanted to do their own thing. But to my surprise after watching this film once, I was shocked how dead wrong I was. This is made worse if you have ever watched my neighbor Totoro. Not to knock Mia and the Migoo down or anything like that, it's just that both films carry very similar ideas, but Totoro executed them far better, gaining the movie large amounts of critical reception. Mia and the Migoo had the potential to be one of, if not the greatest animated environmental film of all time, but failed due to its mediocre pacing and its general wrong sense of direction and focus.
Story and Pacing- The idea of the story itself isn't bad. On paper it's actually pretty good. But there are problems. For a film that is 1 hour 30 minutes, it has WAY too much going on in the plot. The film barely wants to put focus on the scenes that are about the story, and instead focuses too much on the comedy aspect. Because of all that the movie's pacing is really broken. When a scene does focus on the story it never feels warranted. By themselves these scenes are good, but when in context to the story it just doesn't work that well. With all of this accounted for, it becomes really hard to understand the movie's environmental and core themes. Story 4-3/10, Pacing 3/10.
Characters and Voice acting- The characters in the movie aren't too well defined. Mia is our main protagonist yet the film barely focuses on her. I barely cared about her, even when she was in danger. Same goes for virtually every other main character. Each of them barely has their own personality. What I am about to say isn't an opinion by the way, this is a legit fact. They put more attention on side characters we will never see again than on the main characters. I get the point that they were trying to give those people a lasting impression, but they tried way too hard. I did like how they handled the main antagonist at first. The film makers really humanized him at the beginning, and never made him pure evil. He was just a regular man, doing what a real business man would do. He made serious sacrifices. But thanks to the film's pacing and story structure, even he became a slave to the film's mediocre directing. By the end I had really mixed feelings towards his characterization. He's a good guy by the end, but the moments he acted a bit crazy seemed pretty justified by how the Migoo acted. The character Migoo is a hard one to understand. I personally hated him, or them? His or their actions feel completely randomized and never seem to make sense at all. Voice acting in the movie isn't bad in the slightest, but it's nothing special either. I've only been able to hear the English dub, so I can't give my opinion on the original French. Characters 4-3/10, Voice acting 6/10. #Animation and Sound track- The animation is no doubt the best part of this film. It uses an art style only unique to this film. The colorfully painted characters, animals and backgrounds are pretty nice. And while the frame rate isn't too solid, I would say the sacrifice was worth it, but only for the most part. The animation isn't totally perfect, or flawless. Since the environments are always saturated in bright colors, a sense on contrast isn't always there. Especially in places where there should be some. The film barely utilizes the animation which is a real shame, considering that over 2 years of work went into it alone. This is all because the animation is detrimented by the characters, the story, and the overall pacing. The cinematography isn't that great either. The sound track it's sort of okay. To be honest I barely noticed that the film had a sound track. Only one song stuck out, and it was at the end of the film. The use of real world sounds is pretty well implemented. Animation 7.8/10, and Sound track 6/10. #Re-watch ability 5-3/10. You're likely not going to come back to this film anytime soon. Sorry if I sound like a jerk, but it's hard not to be so blunt. I've watched the movie twice now, and unfortunately my feelings have remained the same. You're better off watching my neighbor Totoro if you want to see some of these ideas pushed to maximum potential.
Watching this film was an experience that I won't forget any day, or any time soon into the future. I think Mia and the Migoo should be view as a case study of how not to make a surreal animated film. If you look up the movie's history you'll be surprised to find out that a lot of love and passion went into the product. The director/ creator sounds like a really creative and nice guy. He knew his project was limited in many areas, but he still made the film anyway. One hand he has my respect for sticking with his ideas in the end. On the other hand though I wish he would have realized that he didn't have the budget or time to bring out its full potential. I am happy to say that Jacques-Remy Girerd has gotten better over the years as a director. I can see why some people would say this is a good film, but that's more about personal preference. FINAL SCORE 5.1-4.6/10
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